Igor Girkin, a former soldier-spy and critic of President Vladimir Putin’s conduct of the battle towards Ukraine, was arrested on Friday after the most recent in a sequence of diatribes towards the Kremlin chief appeared to go too far.
Girkin, who goes by the nom de guerre Strelkov (“Shooter”), gained notoriety in 2014 when he led a band of irregular troops into Eastern Ukraine and briefly grew to become the breakaway area’s protection minister. He was convicted in absentia by a Dutch courtroom over his function in taking pictures down a Malaysian Airlines passenger jet, a tragedy that value 298 lives.
The 52-year-old has since reinvented himself as a army commentator and delivered a sequence of withering critiques of Russia’s battle goals and technique in Ukraine.
In a statement posted to Girkin’s Telegram channel, his spouse Miroslava Reginskaya mentioned that representatives of Russia’s Investigative Committee — an anti-corruption and crime-fighting company — had taken her husband away. She mentioned she had later came upon from mates that he had been charged beneath the article within the Russian Criminal Code overlaying extremism.
“I do not know anything about the whereabouts of my husband,” she mentioned. “He has not been in touch.”
In a rustic the place dissent is never tolerated, the truth that Girkin, a former intelligence officer, was in a position to get away for therefore lengthy along with his caustic, satirical and sometimes blatantly anti-Semitic commentaries with out being reined in led to hypothesis that he loved the safety of elements of the Russian safety institution.
He additionally engaged repeatedly in verbal duels with Yevgeny Prigozhin, the chief of the Wagner mercenary military that staged a insurrection final month, attending to inside 200 km of Moscow.
“For 23 years, a nonentity was at the head of the country, who managed to ‘throw dust in the eyes’ of a significant part of the population,” Girkin wrote in a single such diatribe earlier this week.
“The country will not survive another 6 years in power of this cowardly mediocrity. The only thing he could do usefully ‘before the end’ … is to ensure the transfer of power to someone truly capable and responsible. Too bad it didn’t even cross his mind.”
A separate message posted to Girkin’s channel, signed by his “comrades,” known as his arrest a provocation and demanded his launch. “Igor Ivanovich is known to the country as a person who does not compromise in matters of protecting the national interests of Russia,” they wrote.
Russian media RBK reported that Girkin was detained on a grievance from an unnamed member of Wagner.
Even although in the course of the Wagner rebellion, Prigozhin’s military clashed with the Russian army, bringing a number of cities to a standstill, Wagner fighters weren’t punished afterward.
However, a number of Russian generals who have been suspected of aiding Prigozhin have been both detained or have disappeared from public view in latest days. One of them, Russian military commander Sergei Surovikin, also called General Armageddon for his cruel army ways, has not been seen in public for greater than two weeks. Surovikin was identified for pleasant relations with Prigozhin and the autumn 2022 marketing campaign of bombing Ukrainian power infrastructure.
Russia’s elite is exhibiting growing anxiousness about President Putin’s judgment, particularly following the Wagner mutiny, which appeared to catch the Kremlin off guard final month, CIA Director William Burns said Thursday.
In April, Girkin created a nationalistic group, “Club of Angry Patriots,” well-known for criticizing the Russian authorities for its inability to win war it started against Ukraine.